It seems we don’t write blog posts about industry happenings, trends, or even the dumb controversies we are supposed to care about. Could we? Sure. We pretty much only do reviews. To strike a balance, we throw in our opinions, if relevant, in the write ups. The NAS controversy is one of those topics making the rounds ad nauseum, but a defining topic nonetheless in this Golden Age of Whisky we currently enjoy today. Before we get into some particulars on Talisker Storm, an NAS bottling, I’d like to oh so very briefly offer a few thoughts that bear mentioning…
Here is the problem: more than a few brands declare their whisky’s age on their labels and have done so for some time, however some of these age statements are vanishing. The perceived issue is that an age statement became a mark of quality and authenticity, so the alarm sounds when it is removed. Whisky sales have never been bigger, and producers cannot meet the demand that they could never predict 12 or more years ago. You can imagine the producers predicament when trying to meet demand with limited stock. One solution is bottle their brands younger, which consequently, eliminates the age statement or lowers it. There is now a perception of lowered quality because of this reality. You could assume that price would then go down, but this is not the case across the board. In fact, you could be paying more for less, it seems, and this is the most contentious point. Producers have countered that the outrage is unfounded and that this is a simple reality of demand exceeding supply. This new reality is showing no signs of slowing down, and therefore we will see more NAS bottlings, and not necessarily cheaper. And the gravest sin, the cutting guilty count: the bloggers are pissed. Hell hath no fury. For a more comprehensive overview of this discussion, please see this article. But let us offer our view…
You have to stop viewing distillers/producers as anything other than businesses. Admittedly, this is tough to do for the new whiskey hobbyist or rookie blogger opening his freshly delivered sample, but very easy for jaded, miserable wretches like myself. And businesses make business decisions without much consideration to the hurt feelings of the bloggers. It’s the reality. Accept it, love it, live it. Because if you haven’t noticed, they don’t give much of a sweet good golly about the loudest voices against them in this debate, nor should they (sorry). Of course there has been a dab of creative marketing, maybe even some deception, but people are willing to buy NAS bottlings and pay lots of money for them. Therefore, you are rendered powerless for the time being. And not all NAS bottlings are that bad, either. I suggest a new mindset, one which we as a club use: judge an NAS bottling just like any other on the shelf and vote with your dollars, for this voice is the most powerful. If you believe that the whisky isn’t worth the price tag, do not buy it, and be calmly vocal about it. There is always another brand out there that’s better and cheaper to fill the recently gouged hole in your life. Bloggers don’t have the voice we think we have, so don’t yell even louder, please. I’m not sure anyone but yourselves care enough. So now that we got that out of our way, and possibly burned a few more bridges to add to our list, let’s talk about Talisker Storm before the bloody sun sees tomorrow.
Whisky writer Dave Broom once wrote that Talisker distills itself. I’ve never been to the Isle of Skye, but the place must smell like sea spray, smoke, oysters and brine. We have reviewed the 10 year old to fine results, and were eager to find out how different Storm could be being that the age statement went away and on top of that plus a price tag slightly more, say, robust. Storm is comprised of stock from as young as 3 years old up to 25 years old in a mix of re-filled, re-charred casks. They say Storm is supposed to be bigger, smokier, and spicier than the 10. Fine.
SWC Group Review
Nose- Sea spray on a beach with a bonfire. Honey. Oysters with ripe apricot and melon rind. Briny and big. Warm biscuit with a hint of toffee/vanilla. Leather polish.
Taste- Like the nose but with more fruit sweetness. Weighty.
Finish- Smoky and peppery punch on the way out. Dry herbal notes. Medium to long length.
Comment – Fairly solid malt that is indeed bigger and badder than the 10, but we are split on the value for money compared to other malts in this price range.
SWC Rating – 87/100
Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section below.
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